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Best-ofs from major studios of classic primetime shows not as pervasive as you think!

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by David Lambert, Jan 29, 2005.

  1. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    I saw the quote below in a thread about TJ Hooker being planned for DVD, and saw my name invoked. So I started to answer there in the thread, and realized when I was done that this is actually a good topic for it's own thread!

    So I've copied and pasted the whole thing below, just as I wrote it there. I mean no disrespect to the person I'm quoting, so I won't name that person here...I don't want anything thinking that I'm trying to embarrass anyone!! I was just trying to answer the question, and maybe talk to EVERYONE who continues to think that certain studios (Sony and Universal, notably) are rampant releasers of best-ofs. I point out that we're pretty well past that situation, with certain well-thought-out exceptions.

    So I wanted to make this "essay" ( [​IMG] ) more visible by putting it in it's own thread, and letting everyone discuss below without taking the TJ Hooker discussion way off-topic in its own thread. Read on if you're still interested:




    I can't remember the last time Sony did something that wasn't a season set, when it was a classic primetime show involved, with the exception of course of the about-to-ship "Mad About You" and upcoming "Larry Sanders Show" best-ofs that resulted from poor sales of the season sets they tried putting out in the first place.

    We were indicated that it would be season sets for TJ Hooker, and Sony's plans seem to be these days to try season sets first and see if they sell, before falling back to best-ofs if they have to. It's not like the old days of Married...with Children best-ofs that led to season sets later, a Designing Women and a Steve Harvey best-of that led nowhere, and Greatest 70s Cop Shows thing that led somewhere for some shows on it and nowhere for others (Police Woman anyone?).

    And unless I'm mistaken, that's Sony's (formerly Columbia/Trister's) entire history of best-ofs where classic primetime shows are concerned, except for Ripley's Believe It Or Not...which is the type of show that BENEFITS from a best-of (who wants season sets of that? not I!). Did I forget any? Anyone?


    As for Hulk, that was Universal, whose only best-ofs were Hulk and 5th Wheel and Blind Date (the latter two also are the type of show that benefits from best-ofs...and it's a BIG stretch to call those two "classic primetime shows"). Oh, and they had a Baretta best-of that was released the same day as a Baretta season set. Oh, and they distributed Dreamworks' best-ofs for Spin City. That's it for Uni. They were misguided about Hulk, in my opinion. But I'm glad to have SOME Hulk on DVD than nothing at all.

    But my point is that best-ofs from those two studios aren't as pervasive as some people might think. In fact, their records for best-ofs aren't that much different than Warner's (Friends, Babylon 5, Canadian-only Smallvile...not to mention various cartoons (B:TAS, Superfriends) that started as best-ofs than headed to season sets).

    MGM's got Mr. Ed and New Outer Limits, which is only two but that's 1/3rd of all the classic primetime shows they put out on DVD! (the other four are Dead Like Me, Green Acres, Stargate SG-1, and the original Outer Limits). So they're way worse in proportion than Sony or Universal!!!


    They all compare badly to Fox, who put out a best-of for Ally McBeal, partly due to music rights issues and partly because it was the early days of TV-DVDs and they were experimenting with what did and didn't work. And they did best-ofs for COPS, another show of the type where best-ofs are probably prefered. Some cartoons, too, but I'm concentrating on adult fare here (it can be argued that many parents prefer best-ofs for kids, and I see that every day both as a parent and over at TSoD; I never forget that adults buy them, too, because I definately do!...but let's talk about adult primetime stuff for right now). Other than that Fox has never released a best-of for any show without getting season sets rolling first (Simpsons, Family Guy, and upcoming Futurama and X-Files best-ofs, plus rumored Buffy best-ofs).

    Buena Vista has no primetime best-ofs that I can think of, and IIRC Paramount only has the Jean-Luc Picard Collection (released only after TNG was completely out in season sets).


    Summary: studios have "gotten it", by-and-large. They know we want season sets. I think it's good to remain vigilant on this topic, of course, but we can relax just a little bit in that we know the studios want to get seasons to us except in unusual situations where they feel they MUST go another way in order to get the product out at all (as with the upcoming (2/8) Mad About You release).
     
  2. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    I agree that studios have gotten the message about season sets. Unfortunately that isn't true about being OAR, and uncut (music and all). [​IMG]
     
  3. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Producer

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    Dave,

    Thanks for the thread. I'm another collector that wants Season sets as well. I had wondered about this "best of" issue and how widespread it is within the TV/DVD market. You've answered a lot of questions for me [​IMG]
     
  4. James Landau

    James Landau Stunt Coordinator

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    Sorry, David, but that's not it for Universal. You overlooked the four volumes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents which contain nothing but the episodes directed by the master himself. Many Best ofs select the episodes based purely on big name guest stars. These happen to be selected for the director. But they still definitely qualify as Best ofs in my opinion. And to add insult to injury, Universal wouldn't even allow you to buy all four Presents discs without forcing you to double dip on Hitchcock's movies. Throw in the fact that all the episodes were edited[1] and it amounts to a pretty low blow on Universal's part. I sincerely hope their upcoming Season 1 set (will they announce it during my lifetime, I wonder?) has the episodes completely intact and unedited.


    [1]Universal cut the ad break bumper that appears about halfway through the episode--the one with the Hitchcock caricature in the background and the accompanying music. I always look forward to the ad break just to see that bumper and the episodes just aren't the same without it. The cut is also quite jarring on a couple episodes because the music starts before the end of the scene fades out only to abruptly end where the caricature should fade in.

    It should also be noted that about half the episodes in the Baretta Season 1 set have been slightly edited. The fade to black at all the ad breaks was removed making it impossible to tell where the ads originally were meant to be. Universal seems to have the mistaken belief that a TV episode on DVD should play just like a movie with one scene cutting sharply to the next. Those short fades to black were meant to be there, Universal. Leave them alone.
     
  5. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    David, you are the voice of reason in this section of HTF. Great point, and great post.

    I prefer season sets myself, but like several others I am not afraid to buy a best of release from time to time. Although I do agree that usually best of means biggest name guest star.
     
  6. Dan*T

    Dan*T Supporting Actor

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    Dave,
    thanks for elaborating of this issue. I feel it does deserve it's own thread! I appreciate your consideration of my feelings with regards to my quote, and in no way would take this the wrong way, but once again, thank you for considering it!!
    I am just very passionate about the old saying "do it right, or don't bother doing it"
    So to me, if you are going to release something, do it in season sets so that people don't get roped into thinking that their favorite show will only be a best of, so they purchase it. And then when the season set comes out, they end up buying it as well, and now have spent money twice on the same episodes.
    I also am the type of collector who wants ALL of the episodes of a certain series, rather than have only the first few seasons, or settling with a best of. Which is why I'm so determined to complete all 5 seasons of Charlie's Angels, as well as all 4 seasons of the Hulk.
    I know that not everyone feels the same as I do, however this topic does make for a good discussion!!
     
  7. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    With Designing Women, there may be another MWC-like problem licensing "Georgia On My Mind" for DVD issue.

    They can release it without any of this copyright problem when the song goes out of copyright...in 2025. Thanks, Eisner! [​IMG]
     
  8. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    I did forget about that one, James. Thanks for bringing it up. Don't forget, though, that season sets for Hitch are supposed to be on-the-way later this year. My guess is near Halloween, probably on the same week as Munsters Season 2.
     
  9. Randy*S

    Randy*S Second Unit

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    I agree with you Dave, SOME Hulk is better than none at all.
    As is the case with Mr. Ed I really love it but it's not the type of show that most of the mainstream dvd audience would probably buy these days, so I don't mind buying a best-of set.

    And, sometimes I just like having a good "mix" of episodes, like Greatest 70s Cop Shows to pop in and enjoy.

    Also, I look at it as supporting the show, it may or may not help the show to get released in full season sets but at least the studios know that some people are interested in the show.
     

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